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17.7 mile loop at Cheaha - Alabama, United States

by dgbergan  
This trip was created using EveryTrail. Like what you see? Get the FREE iPhone App and share your trips.

TO TRAILHEAD: From Lineville, AL, head north on AL 49 for 4.9 miles and turn left onto State Lake Rd. Go 0.5 mile and turn right onto Oak Grove Rd. In 2.3 miles, turn left onto CR 31. Go 0.5 mile and turn right onto Clairmont Springs Rd./CR 12. In 3.1 miles, turn right onto Blue Ridge Rd. Go 2.7 miles, turn left on Talladega Scenic Dr. and look for trailhead parking across the road.


Location: 33.404236°, -85.874435°
From trailhead parking lot, cross the street and look for the dirt trail to the left of Adams Gap Road. The signed Pinhoti Trail starts heading uphill about 20 feet from the road intersection. The trail's first 3 miles cross numerous seasonal streams and small campsites (perfect for those getting a late start on this long loop).


Location: 33.418602°, -85.846466°
Right before a small campsite, the trail makes a 90-degree turn to the right and heads uphill. From here, the trail gains 900 feet of elevation in the next 1.4 miles--one of the only sustained stretches of climbing on this hike.


Location: 33.415855°, -85.847313°
Follow the trail as it makes a hard switchback to the left. This point is marked by a weathered, old trail sign.


Location: 33.415188°, -85.844307°
Take a break from the switchbacks in the rock field found along this uphill stretch.


Location: 33.414726°, -85.844315°
Go left @ Y-junction. Optional: In 50 feet, bear right to reach a scenic overlook with views of the surrounding mountains.


Location: 33.414558°, -85.843216°
Drop your pack and climb the rocks to an overlook to the south of Cedar and Robinson Mountains.


Location: 33.416332°, -85.836853°
The trail makes a 90-degree turn to the left. To the right is a small campsite, but no water source is nearby.


Location: 33.417996°, -85.834679°
The trail passes a large campsite with views of the mountains to the west.


Location: 33.420773°, -85.831741°
The trail passes a good water source. Whether you're camping nearby or not, it's a good idea to top off here. When the small, seasonal streams dry up, this is a very dry trail with only so many opportunities to refill your water. The best route across this creek is near Waypoint 10.


Location: 33.420780°, -85.831749°
The opposite side of the creek.


Location: 33.422955°, -85.831543°
The trail passes a medium-sized campsite (there is a good water source just east of this spot).


Location: 33.423565°, -85.830322°
Go left @ 4-way intersection (in the middle of a large campsite) onto the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Descend to the northwest. The Pinhoti Trail continues straight here, while the Odum Trail shoots off to the right.


Location: 33.439705°, -85.838799°
Pass a large year-round stream which flows to the east of a medium-sized campsite.


Location: 33.440910°, -85.840591°
Pass a trail marker with a map next to a medium-sized campsite.


Location: 33.441929°, -85.841126°
To use a public restroom, turn right @ T-intersection and walk a short distance to the outhouse. To continue on the loop, turn left @ T-intersection and then make an immediate right back off the road at the next T-junction (about 100 feet from the first).


Location: 33.444412°, -85.841309°
Continue straight across paved road to the dirt trail directly ahead.


Location: 33.449650°, -85.842506°
Continue straight across another paved road crossing.


Location: 33.451660°, -85.849564°
Go right @ Y-junction, heading down toward the creek.


Location: 33.452198°, -85.849930°
Ford the Cheaha Creek, the most difficult river ford of the trip. Caution: This crossing may be dangerous in high water.


Location: 33.452400°, -85.852226°
Uphill from the creek there is a heavily-used shelter. From here, the trail meanders west passing several small campsites and stream crossings.


Location: 33.457207°, -85.868607°
Take a break to enjoy views of the river and a small waterfall from a wooden deck overlook.


Location: 33.456883°, -85.871262°
Take the sharp left turn @ the 3-way junction.


Location: 33.456486°, -85.871101°
Here the trail fords the river at another spot that can be tricky at high water. After fording, bear right and follow the Skyway Trail sign. From here, it's another 6 miles back to Adams Gap.


Location: 33.451241°, -85.873230°
The trail crosses an old dirt forest road and continues straight ahead.


Location: 33.448208°, -85.878357°
Cross another dirt road and continue straight on the trail.


Location: 33.443863°, -85.880531°
Make a 90-degree right turn into a campsite area, cross the river, and then turn left upstream. Red blazes on trees mark your path.


Location: 33.435654°, -85.881699°
Turn left on the gravel dirt road. In 10 feet, turn right and continue on trail.


Location: 33.427956°, -85.885109°
Continue straight across the dirt forest road.


Location: 33.422428°, -85.880417°
Trail descends into a campsite and crosses a creek. On the other side, bear left to continue on the trail.


Location: 33.422310°, -85.880730°
Other side of the creek crossing. Head south.


Location: 33.406174°, -85.876068°
Go straight @ 3-way junction, leaving the Skyway Trail and picking up the Pinhoti Trail as it continues back towards Adams Gap and the trailhead.


Location: 33.406441°, -85.873077°

Scramble to the Overlook

Location: 33.414558°, -85.843224°
Climb this rock outcropping for a fantastic overlook.

The Overlook

Location: 33.414372°, -85.843163°

Shaded Campsite

Location: 33.416470°, -85.836792°

Rocky Path

Location: 33.419266°, -85.833382°

Small Falls

Location: 33.456593°, -85.867775°

Fern Grove

Location: 33.423866°, -85.883980°

Bottomless Tree

Location: 33.414364°, -85.880035°

Comments (4)
Took a group of Boy Scouts out there last weekend. We had a great time on this loop. We spent Friday afternoon- Sunday afternoon on the trail. The Chinnabee Silent Trail had no blazes, but there were other hikers out there and we could make out the trail. The Stairway to Heaven was definitely a challenge. Thanks for the trail guide! We look forward to hiking it again!
by cathyirene on Dec 08, 2014
Love the detail about the locations along the route! Would be nice to know where other potential parking places are in case you want to cut the trip short.
by MStyles on Jun 04, 2013
Just getting around to posting! This trip was a blast, incredible views at several different points. This trail is prob the most difficult one i've hiked to date. Me and my buddy were spent afterwards! Lots of elevation changes and very rocky terrain. Def worth the effort though. Only bad part of the trip is that I lost a gold cross necklace that my mother gave me 15 years ago on my 13th birthday. Please if anyone finds it let me know. aaronharri@gmail.com
by aaronharri on Jun 10, 2011
Me and a friend are going to try out this trail this weekend. Will update with how it went.
by aaronharri on Oct 28, 2010
Trip Info
October 05, 2009
Trip Location: Campbells Crossroads, Alabama, United States
Length: 17.4 miles
Activity: Backpacking
Trip viewed 4,960 times
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